Dec 042012
 

The Wii U has been out for a bit now and every one has been enjoying the launch games. A launch game can only hold attention for so long before it’s time to wonder what’s over the horizon. Here’s a look at how some of Nintendo’s classics could work on the Wii U.

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Dec 112011
 

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the few constants gaming geeks of just about any age have in common. Even me, at my incredibly young and virile age of 30, have played nearly every game in the Zelda series, except for the unspeakable ones. From the very moment I guided Link to the pedestal holding the Master Sword in A Link to the Past I wondered, “Just how did this sword get created? Who put it here? Where can I get a cute green outfit like that?”. After years of those questions (well, most of them anyway) floating around in the collective gamer consciousness, Nintendo has finally promised answers would be revealed in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. This newest entry into the the lore of Zelda and her champion Link delves into the ancient history of Hyrule in order to bring the mystery of the Master Sword, among other things, to light. Continue reading »

Aug 312011
 

Today it was discovered that all those loyal Nintendo customers who shelled out the full price for the Nintendo 3DS would finally see some of that sweet Ambassador action, and one day early too. The first 10 games of the 20 promised can be found via the eShop. Simply go to the settings section and find “Your Downloads”. There you can re-download these select NES titles.

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Aug 042011
 

 

"There was a tall red headed guy looking at it earlier. I'd buy it before HE does."

I love the Animal Crossing games, especially Animal Crossing: Wild World. There’s something wonderful about a series that doesn’t throw thousands of objectives and obstacles at your face and instead let’s you play through at your own comfortable pace. It’s very relaxing and nice to break from the real world to send letters and catch fish. When you sit down to think about all the items you can buy it gets to be somewhat confusing. Exactly how does the Mona Lisa end up in a small town museum?

Also, anyone notice that “Community” tab up there. That’s right, RoboAwesome’s own forums are open for business. Go ahead and sign up and you too can talk all things gaming with us and like minded gaming fans.

See you next week.

Jul 292010
 

The Zelda timeline: It's a secret to everybody... Except for Nintendo.

The timeline in The Legend of Zelda series is  a highly debated topic amongst the Zelda community, with split timelines akin to Back to the Future, a singular chronology, and no timeline at all. Eiji Aonuma — current Producer of the series and Shigeru Miyamoto’s right hand man when it comes to Zelda — recently stated that there is, indeed, a timeline to the critically acclaimed franchise. That statement is more a nod to Zelda timeline enthusiasts than anything; they may have super secret timeline documents now, but they didn’t in the past and probably haven’t had an idea of it until after The Wind Waker. Hardcore Zelda fans such as myself have been over analyzing the series and piecing together a jigsaw that doesn’t quite fit for years now, but with a confirmation that The Legend of Zelda actually has a set chronology, it’s time to flesh it out. The following representation of the Zelda timeline, of course, is not fact. It’s also noteworthy that non-canon games such as Link’s Crossbow Training and the forsaken CD-i series are not included. Please note that this article also assumes the reader has basic knowledge of each game’s story.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (1)

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

In the same interview in which Aonuma confirmed the existence of a timeline, he also spilled the beans on where Skyward Sword is placed. Ocarina of Time was considered the starting point to the chronology (see below) due to having Ganondorf in his original Gerudo form, but now Skyward Sword is taking that spot. This was obvious after the game’s first story details poured in about it being the Master Sword’s origin story — the Master Sword has appeared in almost every Zelda game. That’s all we currently know about the story; we could even see Ganondorf as a child or the original form of Majora in Skyward Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (2)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Much like Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time is also very easy to place. Not only is it the first appearance of series antagonist Ganondorf, but it is also the debut of the Hero of Time — the original banisher of Ganondorf — who is mentioned in other Zelda titles. After this point things start to get a little wacky. Once Ganondorf is banished to the Sacred Realm at the end of the game, Princess Zelda sends Link to his original time so he can have his childhood back (for the few who may have not played this spectacular game: when Link obtains the Master Sword he is sent seven years into the future in order to better combat Ganondorf, who had then conquered Hyrule). This creates a branching timeline in which there is no Hero of Time Link present — this is called the Adult Timeline. When Link returns to his original time as a child, he then warns Princess Zelda, as she instructed him, of Ganondorf’s evil plans before he can actually carry them out; this is why after the ending credits for Ocarina of Time Link is seen approaching Princess Zelda. After Link gives the warning, he departs on a quest to find his missing companion, Navi, who left upon returning the Master Sword. Link’s travels take him to the parallel land of Termina, as seen in Majora’s Mask — this is the start of the Child Timeline.

Note: The timeline has now split, and this article will continue with the Child Timeline before switching to the Adult Timeline.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (Child Timeline, 1)

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.

Concerning the timeline, Majora’s Mask has next to no relevance since it takes place in a parallel universe to the rest of the series. It’s a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time, making the Link in Majora’s Mask the Hero of Time. It’s never said whether Link returns to Hyrule or even finds Navi, but the fact that the Link in Twilight Princess already seems to possess the Triforce of Courage — making him a direct descendant to the Hero of Time — means that Link must have returned to his homeland at some point.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Child Timeline, 2)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Twilight Princess takes place 100 years after the events of Ocarina of Time. In several cut-scenes throughout the game, the banishment of Ganondorf before he acquires the Triforce of Power the way he did in Ocarina of Time is shown. However, a Sage tells Link and Midna that by some “divine joke”, Ganondorf still gets his hands on the piece from the Twilight Realm where he is sealed. At the end of the game Ganondorf is defeated as the Triforce of Power fades from the top of his hand.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Child Timeline, 3)

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.

For many theorists, The Minish Cap once took place before Ocarina of Time. This was due to Ezlo giving Link his iconic green hat at the end of the game, and the belief that the Picori Blade created by the Minish is the Master Sword. However, since Skyward Sword is the tale of the Master Sword’s origin, this theory has been dismissed. The Minish Cap‘s main role in the timeline is to show the creation of the Four Sword, and pave the way for Four Swords Adventures.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (Child Timeline, 4)

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.

Like The Minish Cap, Four Swords Adventures is nearly irrelevant to the Zelda timeline. Its placement is also highly debated, as many believe that it can be placed almost anywhere in the timeline without consequence. Four Swords Adventures has to be placed on the Child Timeline after The Minish Cap, however. The game has Vaati as one of the main antagonists, who made his first appearance in The Minish Cap, along with the Four Sword. In Four Swords Adventures there’s talk of a “Dark Mirror” and an ancient tribe that was sealed away long ago — the Mirror of Twilight and the Twili tribe from Twilight Princess, respectively. These factors place the game after Twilight Princess in the Child Timeline. At the end of Four Swords Adventures, Ganondorf returns in the form seen in Twilight Princess and uses a dark Trident to transform into his demonic pig form, known as Ganon, but he is sealed away in the Sacred Realm.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Child Timeline, 5)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Not only do the Hyrules of A Link to the Past, Twilight Princess, and Four Swords Adventures look very similar, but Ganon  also has possession of the dark Trident from Four Swords Adventures, placing it after the aforementioned game. Ganon also uses Agahnim as a puppet much like he did with Zant in Twilight Princess.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Child Timeline, 6)

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.

It’s common knowledge that Link’s Awakening is a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, with several confirmations in the game, including the final boss who morphs into bosses Link has fought in A Link to the Past. The entire game is pointless, though, because it’s the dream of a shipwrecked Link.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons (Child Timeline, 7)

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons.

Oracle of Ages and Seasons can switch spots with each other due to their huge irrelevance in the timeline. Their justification in the Child Timeline after A Link to the Past is because in a linked game, the final boss is Ganon with the dark Trident. Twinrova are also in the linked ending, which is only possible in the Child Timeline since they were killed by Adult Link in Ocarina of Time, erasing them from existence in the Adult Timeline.

The Legend of Zelda (Child Timeline, 8 )

The Legend of Zelda.

The Legend of Zelda takes place several hundred years after the events of A Link to the Past. By this time, the land of Hyrule has been taken over by Ganon and a new Hyrule was formed to the north of Death Mountain. The events of The Legend of Zelda take place in the original southern Hyrule. A popular theory places The Legend of Zelda and its sequel in the Adult Timeline after Spirit Tracks as the “New Hyrule” founded after the Great Flood; this doesn’t work though, because Ganon appears in The Legend of Zelda — meaning his demonic form seen in other games from the Child Timeline and not the Gerudo form that was sealed in Ocarina of Time.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Child Timeline, 9)

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link serves as the current end point for the Child Timeline. The game also explains why every Princess of Hyrule is named Zelda.

Note: The Child Timeline has now come to an end, and the article will shift to the Adult Timeline. For a refresher — At the end of Ocarina of Time, after the sealing of Ganondorf, Princess Zelda sends Link back to his time so he can experience his childhood. When she does this, it takes Link away from that branching timeline. This means that every Link in the Adult Timeline has no direct relation to the Hero of Time. Ganondorf is also sealed in the Sacred Realm in this timeline.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Adult Timeline, 1)

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

After reading through the entire Child Timeline, one common theme can be seen: Ganondorf is usually in his demonic pig form (Ganon). In the Adult Timeline, though, Ganondorf retains his Gerudo form. Even though he’s Ganon at the time of sealing in Ocarina of Time, he becomes his Gerudo form once again; this is seen at the end of Ocarina of Time when Ganondorf is floating in the abyss of his Sacred Realm imprisonment and says that he’ll seek revenge on the descendants of Link and Zelda when the seal fades. Coincidentally, that’s almost exactly what happens. The seal on Ganondorf eventually fades, and the King of Evil attacks Hyrule. The Hylians wait for the Hero of Time to appear once again and defeat the Ganondorf, but he never returns — that’s because he was sent back to his own time. The Gods then flood the land of Hyrule so that Ganondorf can’t take over, as explained in the prologue to The Wind Waker. After a time so long that Hyrule as been forgotten, the Hero of Winds arises and turns Ganondorf to stone at the end of the game by stabbing his head with the Master Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Adult Timeline, 2)

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

Phantom Hourglass is the direct sequel to The Wind Waker. Link and Tetra are off to find a new land for Hyrule, but encounter the Ghost Ship and are thrown into an alternate universe. Like Link’s Awakening, Phantom Hourglass has no relevance to the overall timeline.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (Adult Timeline, 3)

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.

Spirit Tracks takes place 100 years after Phantom Hourglass in New Hyrule. Mentions to the Hero of Winds Link are made, and players can even get the old hero’s shield from Old Niko. The only real impact Spirit Tracks has on the overall timeline is the fact that Link and Tetra were able to find a New Hyrule. The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link are sometimes placed after Spirit Tracks, but those such placements can’t be clearly justified as the Hyrule of Spirit Tracks has train tracks going through it and those games do not. Furthermore, Ganondorf is turned to stone at the bottom of the Great Sea in the Adult Timeline, and wouldn’t be in his demonic form that he takes in The Legend of Zelda.

We won’t know the true placement of the Zelda games until Nintendo decides to release the “secret” documents, and that day may never come. For now, feel free to sound off in the comments section below! Do you agree with my placement of the games? What’s your theory as far as the timeline is concerned?

Jul 222010
 

Nintendo Entertainment System: Home to a plethora of classics.

The Nintendo Entertainment System helped the most to revive home console gaming after the infamous crash of 1983 with several hit and high quality titles. Many of the established franchises still around today originated on the NES. Gamers who may have missed out on these classics can download them via the Wii’s Virtual Console service. Though there are many great NES games on Virtual Console, there are also tons of low quality titles to sift through. Luckily enough, a large amount of top-tier titles have been re-released on the service, and the following list will help you spend your hard-earned Wii Points right.

Nintendo Entertainment System (500 Wii Points)

The Legend of Zelda.

The Legend of Zelda

A game that was far ahead of its time and one of my personal favorite NES titles, The Legend of Zelda is the first game in the critically acclaimed Legend of Zelda series. Going against what other NES games were doing at the time, Nintendo incorporated a save function into The Legend of Zelda. For gamers in 1986, this was an unbelievable change as it created a strong line between the arcades and home console.

The Legend of Zelda features a completely open world with nine dungeons, each more challenging than the other. The dungeons can mostly be played in any order — one dungeon requires the Raft to get to, however, which is obtained in the previous dungeon. During my first playthrough of the game, back on the GBA re-release, I couldn’t find the second dungeon until right before I went to the ninth dungeon. The Legend of Zelda is also home to many famous gaming quotes still used today, such as “It’s dangerous to go alone” and “It’s a secret to everybody”.


Super Mario Bros. 3.

Super Mario Bros. 1-3

While the original Super Mario Bros. on NES might have aged horribly, it is still a very fun game thanks to the ability to suspend play with Virtual Console games. The other great thing about Mario on Virtual Console is that now North American gamers can enjoy a little gem that was never released in the States – Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels. Back in the NES days, Nintendo had a weird fetish for making their sequels incredibly hard — Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is another example of this. The Lost Levels was so hard, though, that Nintendo went ahead and re-skinned Yume K?j?: Doki Doki Panic into the Super Mario Bros. 2 North American gamers know and love today. Since The Lost Levels is an import title, the cost is raised to 600 Wii Points instead of 500. The final Mario game to release on the NES and make its way to Virtual Console is easily the best of the bunch: Super Mario Bros. 3. The third installment had beautiful 8-bit visuals — some of the best on the console — and introduced the world map to the Mario series.


Metroid.

Metroid

The original Metroid on NES did receive a vastly superior remake on the GBA — Metroid: Zero Mission — but nothing beats the 8-bit classic, especially for only $5. Despite relying on long passwords to continue a game file, Metroid features an open world for players to explore. Naturally, many of the core Metroid gameplay mechanics originated in its first outing, such as the need to obtain weapon or suit upgrades to access new areas.

With Metroid: Other M releasing at the end of next month, fans who have never played a Metroid title before can easily get into this game and its critically acclaimed third entry on the SNES.


Final Fantasy.

Final Fantasy

Like most established franchises today, Final Fantasy once called the NES its home in all its 8-bit, black-background glory. The title has seen many remakes since its original release back in 1987, with each of them updating the aesthetic making the NES version more and more obsolete.

For 500 Wii Points and a suspend feature to quick save anywhere, Final Fantasy is a sure download for the most hardcore RPG fans. The game is rough around the edges and has aged terribly, but it fills players who remember blowing into their cartridge to get it to work with nostalgia.


Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

Castlevania 1-3

A list of the best NES games on Virtual Console isn’t much of a list at all without the Castlevania series, particularly Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. The series today has more free exploration similar to Metroid, so going back to the first three games after all these years would make players feel a bit underwhelmed and limited. However, these NES classics are filled with so much challenge that they’re worth returning to. There are difficult games these days such as Demon’s Souls, but nothing is more frustrating than missing a well timed jump or being hit by a Medusa head and falling into the void.

With Konami releasing a new 2D Castlevania title, Harmony of Despair, later this year, now is the perfect time to get into the games that started the vampire hunting craze.


Mega Man 3.

Mega Man 1-4

Mega Man is a series that I personally never got into, other than the Battle Network games for GBA. Mega Man on the NES is a crazy hard platforming series, filled with spiked floors and tough bosses. Players select a boss to take on and battle their way through its stage before the inevitable confrontation.

Capcom has also seemed to realized that classic is the way to go with Mega Man, as they have continued the series on WiiWare, PSN and XBLA with Mega Man 9 and 10 which both feature an 8-bit visual style and brutal difficulty.


Other great VC NES titles:

  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
  • Adventure Island
  • Excitebike
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • Life Force
  • Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2
  • River City Ransom
  • StarTropics
  • Super C

Stay tuned for the next entry in the Virtual Console Essentials series: Super NES!

NES – SNES – Master System – Genesis – TG-16 – Commodore 64 – Arcade – NeoGeo – N64

May 112010
 

Pikmin 3 mock logo.

With E3 closing in on just a little over a month, rumors and speculation of what is to transpire at Nintendo’s conference have started running rampant through the internet. Nintendo is looking to have a big show this year — with the new Legend of Zelda, 3DS, and Pikmin 3 all confirmed to make an appearance — but what does Nintendo have up its sleeve?

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Apr 042010
 

A modern depiction of the Step Ladder in The Legend of Zelda.

I love Zelda. I live Zelda. When I’m not playing Zelda I watch re-runs of MASH so that Zelda is that much better each time I play any of the games in the series.

I’ve also beaten every Zelda game released thus far, sans the abominations that are the CD-I Zelda titles. Suffice to say, I have a pretty large amount of experience when it comes to items in The Legend of Zelda series.

The Zelda universe is filled with many really cool and useful items — from the Bow to the Spinner — but the series is also notorious for giving players items that either don’t have much use or get upgraded versions later in the game.

What are the worst of the worst?

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